OFFICIAL NEWS: Panthers finally confirm second round signing with Pittsburgh Steelers top tackle which agreed with two year contract due…  

Who might the Panthers target in Round 2 if they don’t have a first-round pick?

Carolina Panthers’ pre-draft press conference a year ago was whether they would select Alabama quarterback Bryce Young or Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud with the No. 1 overall pick.

Although they didn’t reveal it that day, it was Young, who had always been the choice in the minds of then-coach Frank Reich and then-general manager Scott Fitterer.

The big question in Thursday’s news conference was about how the team will surround Young with enough talent so he won’t have another disastrous season.

But in the minds of new coach Dave Canales and new general manager Dan Morgan, that isn’t what this offseason and draft are about.

“It’s not about surrounding Bryce with great players, it’s about building a great team … and then Bryce can just do his part,” Canales said on Thursday, as he and Morgan discussed next week’s draft. “That’s my goal. That’s my heart for this whole thing.

“Look at the great teams he was a part of at Alabama. He won a lot of games when they had a good offense and a good defense. He did his part, and he played big in big moments, and I would love to create that here.”

Canales and Morgan will try to do that without a first-round pick, because they traded it to the Chicago Bears last year so they could draft Young. But they have two second-rounders (Nos. 33 and 39), and believe the moves made during free agency will allow them to take the best player available and not specifically the best player to help Young.

They also will consider trading one of those second-rounders for more picks, unless the player they covet — particularly at No. 33 — is available. Trading up could also be an option.

“I’m not going to box myself into, ‘Hey, we’re not going to do this, we’re not going to do that,”’ Morgan said. “If there’s a really good player, we’ll take him. Trading up, those are discussions we still have to have. Everything’s on the table right now.”

With that, here are players at five positions the Panthers need to consider with their two second-round picks.

Wide receiver

Trading for Pittsburgh’s Diontae Johnson to play alongside veteran Adam Thielen and 2023 second-round pick Jonathan Mingo took some of the pressure off of adding one at No. 33. But Thielen will be 34 entering the season, Mingo was inconsistent as a rookie and Johnson is in the last year of his contract. So adding a long-term pass-catcher for Young is essential.

Georgia’s Ladd McConkey has been a popular choice for Carolina in many mock drafts despite a subpar 2023 season. What sets him apart is his ability to separate — an issue for Carolina receivers last season — and his ability to make yards after the catch. He also has the speed to keep teams honest deep.

He joins Texas’ Adonai Mitchell, South Carolina’s Xavier Legette, Texas’ Xavier Worthy and Florida State’s Keon Coleman among the second-tier receivers to consider in a very deep class.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *